James Patterson,
When the Wind Blows
(Time Warner, 1998; 2003)

I like a good audiobook. It helps pass the time on one's commute to and from work. And knowing that When the Wind Blows was by bestselling author James Patterson, I thought I was in for quite a treat. Perhaps I set my expectations a little high, but I was a little underwhelmed by this story.

Frannie O'Neill is a 30-something Colorado veterinarian whose husband was murdered in the not-too-distant past. Kit Harrison is an FBI agent, supposedly on leave, who just will not let an old case die. He comes to Frannie's neck of the woods to continue his investigation on his own time and without bureau backup. Posing as a hunter, he rents a cabin that Frannie has not far from her animal clinic.

One day, Frannie wonders if she is hallucinating when she spots what looks like a young, pre-teen girl in the woods near her clinic. Frannie could have sworn the girl had wings. It turns out, Frannie is not seeing things. Max, also known as Tinkerbell, is the result of intensive genetic research. She has escaped from "The School" and turns to Frannie for help. In the ensuing tale, Frannie learns more about "The School," her husband's murder and that Kit, as well as other friends and acquaintances, are not who they claim to be.

Blair Brown narrates When the Wind Blows and does a decent job. You might know her from the movies Space Cowboys and The Astronaut's Wife. Brown does a good job projecting various emotions and can handle different voices for women and children, although I did have a little trouble distinguishing between some of the male characters. With the first CD, I thought Blair was nicely backed up by strategically placed music. Unfortunately, the same sound clips are used throughout and by the end of the story on CD 5, I was mostly turned off by the noise.

While I was not overly impressed with When the Wind Blows, it was an acceptable way to pass time during my commute. As the book was first released in 1998, several of you might already be fans. If so, you will be happy to note that the story of winged children continues with The Lake House released in 2003. The audiobook version of When the Wind Blows contains a sneak preview clip in an attempt to whet your appetite.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 3 April 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.